In Biblical times, Harvest was a time of community celebration and thankfulness to God for the harvest. Nobody was left out. Even for the poor and destitute, there was provision through the ‘gleanings’.
The concept of gleaning is first introduced in Leviticus 19: 9-10:
‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.’
It was a central theme in the book of Ruth. Where Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi were only able to live in the early days of their return to Jerusalem because Ruth gleaned. In Biblical times, and even more recently, gleaning was an early form of welfare system ensuring that those in dire need were able to access the food they needed to live on.
So in 2014 we want to remember the concept of gleaning and how we can make provision for the poor and needy in our communities, whether it’s through pointing someone to a food bank or debt advice centre or having a cup of tea with a lonely neighbour.
We hope you find these resources useful as you prepare for Harvest.
Watch our film on How Church Urban Fund is investing in communities »
Watch our 2 minute animation on How Church Urban Fund works »
Web of Poverty
This Web of Poverty paper sets out Church Urban Fund’s understanding of poverty; what is it and how does it affect people’s lives? It also explains our approach to tackling poverty and how, through our Together Network, we seek to transform the lives of the poorest and most marginalised in England. As such, it forms the basis of a policy position for the Church Urban Fund and the Together Network.
Web of Poverty Report » (PDF)
Poverty Look-up Tool
When you think about the parish you live in, does it feel quite deprived, fairly wealthy, or somewhere in the middle? Find out more about the level of poverty in your parish and how this compares with other parishes locally and nationally using our handy look-up tool.
Good Neighbours: How churches help communities flourish
Churches are good news for our communities. Our latest research report Good Neighbours indicates that churches in England reach approximately 10 million people each year through its community activities, even excluding ‘familiar’ church activities – Sunday services, Christmas, Easter, Harvest, baptisms, weddings, and funerals. And that they are uniquely relational in their approach.
When you make a gift to Church Urban Fund we are able to resource and multiply the amazing work that churches are already doing to tackle poverty all over England. For every £1 you raised in 2013, Church Urban Fund was able to raise additional funds in order to invest £4.50 to make this vital work more strategic, effective and sustainable. Your donations go a long way to transform lives.
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